Chinese data puts rand on back foot

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Reuters

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Johannesburg - South Africa's rand weakened against the dollar on Monday, starting a data-heavy week on the back foot as emerging market currencies were depressed by concerns of an economic slowdown in China.

The world's second-biggest economy and one of South Africa's most important trading partners reported weaker-than-expected exports in February, swinging its trade balance into deficit, while consumer prices rose at their slowest pace in 13 months.

The rand fell to 10.7795 per dollar. By 0635 GMT, it was down 0.4 percent at 10.7700 to the dollar, adding to losses incurred after strong non-farm payrolls data out of the United States on Friday.

Government bond yields climbed 2.5 basis points to 8.54 percent on the benchmark 2026 bond and rose 3 basis points to 7.04 percent on the 2015 note.

This week investors will focus on South African current account data for the fourth quarter on Wednesday, which will give a rounded picture of how the economy fared in 2013.

The current account deficit widened to its biggest gap in five years in the third quarter, with the volatility of flows expected to remain while the Federal Reserve reduced its bond-buying programme.

Mining and manufacturing production data follow on Thursday. Central bank Governor Gill Marcus will also speak at an event at the bank on Thursday evening.

Reuters


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